Homemade New Orleans Beignets
Let me start by saying that if you have never been to New Orleans and experienced an authentic Cafe du Monde Beignet, you are in for a treat! When I took my first trip to New Orleans with my mom 2 summers ago, I fell in love with the city, culture and most of all the food of the city... since I travel just to eat anyway :) Many mornings in the city were spent with us people watching over strong Chicory Coffee and the sugar comas that you can only get from the piping hot beignets that Cafe du Monde produces.
Ever since that trip, I have been looking for a beignet recipe that came remotely close to those that I experienced in New Orleans and after a few tweaks, I finally found it! I couldn't believe how perfect this recipe came out. The best way to describe a beignet is the perfect blend between a funnel cake and a donut. It's the perfect pocket of soft, warm dough, topped with mounds of powdered sugar. These will leave your house smelling absolutely divine!
This recipe is also so quick and easy to make, even if you don't consider yourself a baker! And the best part is that they don't have to be perfect, if you mess up the shape... it doesn't matter, they still taste just as delicious!
You can make this recipe for a brunch with friends, dessert for your family, or a special after school treat for your kiddies! No matter who you make them for, show up with a plate of these babies and everyone will love you, trust me! They even reheat pretty well, at about 15 seconds each in the microwave.
These are obviously not part of my "clean eating" lifestyle but I'm donut-obsessed and these are the next best thing... and hey, you've got to treat yo' self every now and then! Serve these up with a hot pot of coffee or tea and STUFF YOUR FACE, because there is no way to eat just one or even two of these babies!
Homemade New Orleans Beignets
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 packet active dry yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 cup evaporated milk
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
7 cups flour
1/4 cups shortening
2 cups powdered sugar
Mix the water, sugar and yeast in a large bowl and set to the side for 10 minutes.
In another bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Add in salt, evaporated milk and vanilla.
Stir in 3 cups of the flour.
Add in shortening and stir in remainder 4 cups of flour. Mix together until a ball is formed.
Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth.
Coat or spray a large bowl with cooking oil or vegetable oil and place dough in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap.
Let the dough rise for at least an hour or refrigerate overnight.
Heat vegetable oil in a pan or pot about a 1/2 an inch high.
Roll dough out on a floured surface to about 1/4 inch thickness and cut into 2 inch squares with knife or pizza cutter.
Drop about 4 pieces of dough at a time into oil and fry, flipping after each side is golden brown.
Drain on paper towels or a drying rack and coat with a ton of powdered sugar!